PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
High Street in Northcote is a bit like Brunswick Street or Lygon Street –jam-packed with cars, cafes and crowds so parking can be a bit tricky. This puts locals at a distinct advantage because while you're looking out with eagle eyes for a free spot they can leisurely stroll along and plonk themselves down at one of the busiest eateries on the street, Cafe Bedda. The name is a Sicilian dialect word for "bella", or beautiful, and Cafe Bedda is quite pretty indeed, along with being rather noisy, busy and cheerful. A huge painting of a Sicilian landscape hangs on one of the painted brick walls and small tables are crowded together, hosting chirpy groups of friends getting together over a quick meal.
The food is Italian, with a definite lean towards Sicilian flavours. A highlight of the menu is the fish couscous, which is regarded as one of Sicily's most noted regional dishes. A blackboard menu lists a range of antipasto and some hearty pasta dishes – you'd have to be very hungry to manage Bedda's version of spaghetti puttanesca with tuna and green olives. Swordfish, a Sicilian favourite, makes an appearance, lightly cooked on a bed of mashed potato and leek. Another staple of Sicilian cuisine, eggplant, is tossed through pasta and also tops one of the delicious crusty pizzas along with tomato, mozzarella and fresh ricotta. The wine list includes lots of rare Italian wines, many of which are Sicilian, and the beer selection also includes one from the island.